June 29, 2010

Yesterday we went to the grocery store for eggs and Diet Coke...and they were sold out. No eggs, no Diet Coke. That's one of the strangest things about this town - the small grocery store can run out of items and then you're just out of luck until the weekly delivery on Tuesday. I love this town and am glad that Walmart isn't here, but this running out of supplies is just weird.

June 27, 2010

With the high price and low quality of vegetables in Skagway, the residents of our RV Park have created a greenhouse. They taped rolls of plastic over a wooden frame on the side of the clubhouse.

Most of our group have staked out a small space in the greenhouse and started a garden. Unfortunately the ground is so rocky that it can’t be cultivated. So we have a home-made dirt filter make from scrap wood and chicken wire.

Every shovelful needs to be dumped on top of the filter and massaged through the wire. To avoid carrying all the rocks outside, we use some to create borders around our little garden plots. It’s a real pain – in the back, in the shoulders, and in the neck. But the results look promising!
Fresh seafood again today!!! We got word from a friend in the park that someone was selling fresh crab off the boat. Randy drove down to the Skagway dock and came back with 4 live crabs. Because we downsized to fit everything into the RV, we only have one pot big enough to cook a full crab in, and it can only hold one at a time. So some of the crabs had to live in our sink for a short while ...

while we were boiling their buddies.

Sounds heartless, but if you know me, you know nothing gets between me and a crab dinner!
Recently we took the local “Ghost Stories and Brothel” tour. The Red Onion Saloon gives these tours, which include a lot of miscellaneous information about Skagway. For example, John Nordstrom came up here during the gold rush, made $13,000 on his claim, then returned to Seattle to start his famous department store. We also learned a little history about a huge painting of a watch up on the mountain.

During the Gold Rush it was common to advertise by painting big signs on the mountainside by the dock. Kirmse’s Curios had a large pocket watch painted to advertise their store; the hands of the clock are painted at 8:22. Our guide said that painters at that era often used that time when painting clocks because that was when President Lincoln died. However, everything I read says President Lincoln died at 7:22, so either the story isn’t true, or the Skagway artist made a mistake and decided not to fix it.

Skagway is listed as a haunted town on several websites. The most documented ghost is Mary, at the Golden Shore hotel. Our tour guide had some other ghost stories that aren’t on the internet, such as a baby crying in the woods (killed by his grandfather who was enraged that his daughter got pregnant without being married), and a couple of happy, sociable ghosts who just don’t want to leave.

Brothels used to be a big business in Skagway. The Red Onion was one, famous mostly because the building is still here. But it’s changed a lot. When it was moved from its original location to the corner of Broadway, it was accidentally set down facing the wrong way, with the back of the building facing the main street. Rather than move the whole building again, they just cut off the front and re-installed it on the back, which faced Broadway. It’s not very noticeable, unless you look down at the floor on the inside and see the seam.

The Red Onion downstairs is a restaurant/bar. We've been there a couple of times and they have good pizza. The upstairs is a sort of a museum to the working girls of the Gold Rush. There are a couple of rooms that can be toured. They are small rooms and the walls are deeply water-stained.

Besides the Red Onion, there are several very small buildings around town. These are the original cribs, where gold miners could have 15 minutes of fun for $5 in gold. A surprising number of these buildings still exist and have been moved to various locations around town.

Further up the street on Broadway is the Skagway Brewing Company. This local brewery makes Spruce Tip beer. It was invented by Captain Cook, who according to legend, ran out of rum and needed something to pacify his crew. Spruce tips are high in vitamin C, so it was also good for avoiding scurvy.

June 13, 2010

Here’s a photo of the Skagway car wash -

I would love to pretend this is really the local car wash, but it’s a fire department fundraiser. Pretty funny, though!

On a more serious note, we almost lost Julienne a couple of weeks ago. She has a nasty habit of snacking out of the litter box; we use clumping litter, which absorbs about 30 times its weight in liquid. That, inside a small dog, is not a good thing. One evening she started having tremors and staggering around. With some advice from a friend here, we got her to vomit up most of the mess she had stolen from the litter box, but she continued to have severe seizures for about 30 minutes. Eventually she calmed down and got better, but it was a very bad scare. So we have been experimenting with other types of litter. I’ve torn up bundles of newspaper and dried out a big bucket beach sand. The cats have cautiously used both of those substitutes but they are very messy. Now we are trying to put a gate in the bathroom doorway, where the litter box is. Not only will it keep the dogs out of the litter, but it will also keep them out of the cat food and off the bed. I don’t really mind them on the bed, but Julienne likes to paw up a soft cushion of bedspread before she lies down, which is pretty tough on bedspreads. So if the baby gate works, it will solve a lot of problems.